7 Nov 2002 : Column 706Wcontinued
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times a week she recommends household rubbish collections should take place; and what measures are in place to ensure that such collections take place. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 29 October 2002]: Section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on each waste collection authority to arrange for the collection of household waste in its area. It is up to each authority to decide on the most appropriate method and frequency of collection, and the resources required.
The waste collection authority will need to monitor the service to ensure that it is delivered in the manner they have prescribed. Ultimately, a waste collection authority can be referred to the local authority ombudsman if it is deemed to be failing to fulfil its statutory duty in this area.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many local authorities have systems for recycling household waste from the doorstep; where they are located; and what plans there are to introduce doorstep recycling in all authorities. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 29 October 2002]: We are clear that there needs to be a significant increase in kerbside recycling. We have provided significant extra funds to local authorities through the standard spending assessment and a separate ring-fenced fund for recycling and waste minimisation. We are currently assessing the second tranche of bids for funding from that budget. The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit is currently reviewing waste strategy and its funding and is due to report shortly.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library copies of the minutes from meetings of the Market Transformation Programme, attended by her Department. 
Mr. Meacher: The Market Transformation Programme works by engaging with stakeholders who have policy interests across a range of product and service sectors, mainly by exposing its analysis of issues and illustrative strategies to public scrutiny and open consultation, and doing this largely through internet communication. From time to time the contractors who service this programme for the Department hold meetings with experts and other interested parties (eg, from business, NGOs, research organisations and Government Departments) to help build consensus on
7 Nov 2002 : Column 707W
the relevant data and analysis. No formal minutes are made of such discussions, but the outcomes of all consultations are reflected in updates to the documented analysis, the position papers and the programme action plans, which are all published for the Department on the programme's public domain website, www.mtprog.com. In addition, the Department holds meetings concerned with the steering and management of the programme's work, as distinct from its content. These meetings are minuted and I will arrange for copies of the minutes and supporting papers covering the most recent meeting to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Burnett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will make a decision in respect of an appeal by Peninsular Proteins Ltd. against a refusal to grant a licence to operate their rendering plant at Great Torrington; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: We are concerned that re-use and recycling of plastic remains very low and that non-biodegradeable plastic remains in and litters the environment almost indefinitely. A substitute for plastic made from potato starch is now being developed, which is being used for some types of packaging by some retailers. Such material is entirely biodegradeable and can be composted. A number of companies are marketing degradeable plastics technology and products manufactured from these materials. These new technologies are based on modified plastics manufactured from mineral oil and still have to be sent for recycling after use. But we do strongly support the development of boidegradeable plastics made from non-fossil sources.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultation she is undertaking on the introduction of a charge for plastic bags given out in shops; and if she will make a statement. 
7 Nov 2002 : Column 708W
Agency to carry out a review of technetium-99 discharges from Sellafield. The Agency published its proposed decision concerning these discharges on 20 September 2001 and set out various actions that, subject to technical problems being overcome, and HOUSE being content about the safety implications, could be undertaken to reduce the current technetium-99 discharge limit to 10 TBq/year by 2006. The Agency's proposed decision is currently under consideration by the Secretaries of State for Health and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who jointly have the decision-making responsibilities in this area. We expect that their response to the Agency's proposals will be published shortly.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how her Department regulates the use of SF6 and its emissions in electricity transmission and distribution in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 28 October 2002]: The Government do not regulate the use of SF6 from the electricity transmission and distribution sectors. Emissions from electrical insulation currently account for less than 20 per cent. of the UK's total emissions of SF6. While there has been a small increase in emissions from this sector since 1995, and they are forecast to continue increasing until 2010, estimated emissions reduction in other sectors are projected to offset this increase and lead to a fall in total SF6 emissions of about 3 per cent. between 1995 and 2020.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) assessment has been made and (b) discussions have taken place, or are planned by her Department, of the political declarations emerging from the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg from (i) the Inter-Parliamentary Union, (ii) local government groups and (iii) regional government groups. 
Mr. Meacher: The relevant declarations are (i) the declarations by parliamentarians at the session organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU); (ii) the declaration by local government representatives at the session organised by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI); and (iii) the declaration by regional government representatives at the regional government event (known as the Gauteng Declaration).
We are in the process of assessing the contents of these declarations, and will discuss their implications with the relevant stakeholders, including how they might contribute to sustainable development in the UK.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in relation to the role of local government in the delivery of objectives agreed at the
7 Nov 2002 : Column 709W
recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg; and what the outcomes of the discussions have been. 
Mr. Meacher: Discussions have begun with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and other Government Departments about how to take forward the UK's commitments from WSSD at the local, national and international level. There are many aspects to consider and we anticipate these discussions continuing for some time.
We will be launching a major review of the UK Sustainable Development Strategy in the new year. We will use this opportunity to consult stakeholders, including local authorities, on action to implement the Johannesburg commitments across the UK.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason the UK did not have a stand at the Umbuntu Village and the NASREC exhibition space at the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. 
Mr. Meacher: After careful consideration, the UK Government decided not to have a stand at Umbuntu Village as we believed that the benefits to be gained from exhibitioning did not justify the use of the limited human and financial resources we had available.
NASREC was the location for the Global People's Forum, which ran in parallel to the main summit, and was a forum for all forms of civil society to coalesce and discuss sustainable development. It was not a forum for Governments to exhibit. I visited it during the WSSD Conference and spent half a day there. I also visited Umbuntu Village twice.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken to develop national coalitions to assist in the delivery of (a) outcomes of the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and (b) additional non-binding agreements or pledges made by the UK Government relating to the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. 
Mr. Meacher: The United Kingdom Government are co-operating with like-minded Governments, both bilaterally and through international institutions such as the United Nations, European Union and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to assist the delivery of the outcomes of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and related non-binding commitments which it has made.
Such co-operation will not necessarily involve the development of publicly identified 'coalitions'. However, at Johannesburg the EU member states and a number of like-minded countries, commonly referred to as the 'Renewable Energy Coalition', made a declaration on XThe Way Forward for Renewable Energy". This commits us to work together to further develop and promote renewable energy technologies and substantially increase the global share of renewable
7 Nov 2002 : Column 710W
energy resources; and to work with others to achieve this goal, especially through partnership initiatives and through forthcoming international conferences.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to (a) attend and (b) support events relating to outcomes of the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. 
Mr. Meacher: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is committed to follow-up the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) both at a national and international level. Within the UK, Defra is supporting numerous events on the outcomes of WSSD, these include stakeholder meetings to discuss follow-up action in the UK, a Conservation Foundation workshops on WSSD looking at the local dimension, the Royal Institute of International Affairs General Meeting on the outcomes of WSSD, a DEMOS seminar on sustainable business and a keynote speech by my right hon. Friend the Secondary of State for Defra on the outcomes of WSSD at the Associate Parliamentary Environment Group Christmas reception.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which individuals and organisations who were consulted by her Department in relation to (a) Prepcom meetings and discussions relating to the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg; and (b) the negotiations and involvement of the UK Government delegation at the World Summit. 
Mr. Meacher: The Department for Environment, Food and rural Affairs (Defra) worked closely with various stakeholder groups in our preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Consultations with civil society were through umbrella organisations such as UNED-UK and the BOND Network (British Overseas NGOs for Development).
Defra engaged with the business community and the Prime Minister instigated five sectoral initiatives in March 2001, which were partnerships for the delivery of sustainable development between Government, civil society. Stakeholders groups, including NGOs, local authorities and business were invited to be part of the delegation at the Prepcoms and at the summit itself.
Negotiations at the summit were inter-governmental. However, daily UK delegation meetings and regular briefing sessions with civil society enabled non-governmental stakeholders to feed in their views.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department has taken to (a) develop a system for monitoring of and (b) produce guidelines for Type II agreements relating to the delivery of objectives relating to the delivery of (i) sustainable development and (ii) outcomes of the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. 
7 Nov 2002 : Column 711W
Mr. Meacher: Defra negotiators were instrumental in the development and adoption by the UN of a set of guiding principles for Type II partnerships at the fourth Preparatory Committee meeting for WSSD in Indonesia in May this year. We also fought extremely hard for the inclusion of relevant text in the Plan of Implementation agreed at Johannesburg, with the result that the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has been mandated to develop a follow-up mechanism for partnerships.
Domestically, a policy lead has been identified for each of those Type II partnerships in which the UK Government are involved. These include officials from FCO, Forestry Commission, DfID and DTI in addition to Defra.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list Type II agreements in place relating to the delivery of (a) sustainable development and (b) outcomes of the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. 
Mr. Meacher: I refer the hon. Member to the UN website for the World Summit on Sustainable Development which lists more than 600 Type II partnerships (http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/html/sustainable-dev/partnership-initiatives.html).
UK-led Sustainable Tourism Initiative (STI)
EU Water InitiativeWater for Life
EU Energy Initiative'Energy for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development'
Global Village energy Partnership (GVEP)
Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development
Partnership For Principle 10 (Environmental Democracy)
Oceans Initiative: XWhite Water to Blue Water: A Crosscutting Approach to Regional Oceans and Coastal Ecosystem Management"
Congo Basin Forest Partnership
Japanese led Asian Forest Partnership